To illustrate the perils of believing what you read in the newspapers, Skuds has suggested that the figures quoted in my last post (about how Henry Smith and his chums on West Sussex County Council have had large increases in their allowances despite an independent review concluding that no such increases be given) were incorrect.
Good job too, because it meant that I read the actual reports, and there are some differences.
Firstly, the Special Allowance for the Leader, Henry Smith, has gone up from £26,523 to £29,394, an increase of 10.8% (about the same as the Argus’ 11%).
Secondly, the Cabinet members allowance has risen from £15,691 to £18,283, a jump of 16.5% (which is 2.5 percentage points more than reported by the Argus). Eight councillors receive this allowance.
Thirdly, it’s not clear what is meant by non-Executive Chairmen, because under the old scheme there were two levels of allowance for committee chairs. For six of the posts, the old allowance was £8,375. For three others, it was £6,582. If the increase applies to all, then they will all now get £8,989. That’s 7.3% for the first six, and 36.6% for the other three (The Argus report refers to three chairmen getting 24%, which I can’t see from the figures at all).
Fourthly, all of the other Special Responsibility Allowances are increasing as well, by an index-linked figure, which was actually what the panel recommended for all posts. There are 32 councillors who receive these allowances, out of a total of 70. The number affected by the self-determined increases is up to 18.
Fifthly, all of the above will also be getting the standard councillor’s allowance that all councillors receive – £10,546 in the 2006/7 year. I believe that this is also index linked.
The Scheme as it stood before 14 December 2007 (pdf format)
The report of the Independent Review Panel (pdf format)
The Report before WSCC on 14 December with the large increases (pdf format)